Regarded as the ‘Land of Enchantment’, New Mexico is more than just a place where green chilis grow and white dunes expand for miles. In the mountains north of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico are some of the best ski resorts in the Southwest, thanks to its sun-kissed winter days and freshly powdered trails.
New Mexico has something for everyone, especially for those outdoor addicts who prefer cold-weather sports such as snowshoeing, snow tubing, and sledding. It is especially true for skiers and snowboarders who can enjoy some of the country’s most unique slopes alongside incredible mountain views.
We’ve assembled a list of the best ski areas within a short distance from Albuquerque. While some ski resorts are world-famous and often crowded, others are hidden gems, known for short lines and open space. Most of these resorts are in operation from November to March, and it is best to plan your trip during a weekday to avoid crowds.
On your way back from the slopes, consider detouring to one of New Mexico’s hot springs for some well earned R&R. There are more than a dozen places to soak in mineral water in the Land of Enchantment.
Here are the closest ski areas to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in order of driving proximity:
Sandia Peak – Sandia Park: 31 miles | 40 min
Sandia Peak Ski Area is one of only a few resorts that are solely operational on the weekends and during holidays.
The area covers about 200 skiable acres and has four lifts, a tram, a surface lift, and 35 trails, half of which are for intermediate riders. There are 25 miles of trails with a summit elevation of 10,378 feet at its peak. There is also a 700-foot vertical drop, making this an excellent choice for people looking for a little thrill.
While there are no mountainside accommodations available, there are plenty of options located in the city. Sandia Peak is famous for its tram, which is the longest aerial tram in America and ascends 3,819 feet in a mere 15 minutes. It should be mentioned that the tram is only recommended for intermediate to advanced athletes who have the right equipment.
Skiing and snowboarding lessons are offered for beginners, and equipment rental is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For a stunning spot to grab lunch, Sandia Peak’s Ten 3 restaurant is a great place to dine at an elevation of 10,300 feet above sea level. All of the meals are prepared from scratch using locally farmed ingredients, making it a fantastic stop to round off your trip.
NM-536, Sandia Park, NM 87047 (Map) | (505) 242-9052
Ski Santa Fe – Santa Fe: 80 miles | 1.5 hours
Just a short hour and a half drive from Albuquerque, you will find the Ski Santa Fe resort, a family-friendly ski area with plenty to do for skiers of all ages. This resort is one of the top destinations for winter play in the country and gives skiers the most bang for their buck in the Southwest.
One of the things that make Ski Santa Fe special is that it has one of the highest ski areas in the USA, with a summit elevation of 12,075 feet and a vertical drop of 1,725 feet. There are 660 skiable acres on the 86 runs provided by the resort. While most of the runs are for intermediate and advanced riders, there are a few beginner runs for those new to the sport.
In addition to the several trails for experienced skiers, there’s also a certified ski school, children’s center and Adventureland, and a freestyle terrain park. The mountain gets 225 inches of snowfall each year, coating the slopes with a nice blanket of fresh powder.
There are seven lifts at Ski Santa Fe that are open daily during the winter. The lifts also operational during the spring for those who like to take a little scenic ride in this mountainous paradise.
While at Ski Santa Fe, don’t forget to grab a bite from one of their three high-rated eateries: La Casa, Totemoff’s Bar & Grill, and Terrace Grill. While there aren’t any accommodations up on the mountain, the resort’s base is just 16 miles out of Santa Fe and 80 miles from downtown Albuquerque.
1477 NM, NM-475, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (Map) | (505) 982-4429
Pajarito Mountain – Los Alamos: 103 miles | 2 hours
Just a two-hour drive from Albuquerque and tucked away in north-central New Mexico is a popular ski resort that is sure to quench the thirst for anyone’s next skiing adventure. Pajarito Mountain Ski Area is part of the Jemez Mountains and has fantastic views of the Rio Grande Valley and Valle Grande areas on the east and west sides.
Pajarito was first developed as a ski area in the 1950s and has attracted locals, snowbirds, and tourists to its family-friendly slopes. This resort is considered one of the state’s best-kept secrets due to its smaller size and limited crowds. No need to worry, the slopes are phenomenal and worth the drive.
Pajarito Mountain Ski Area sits on 750 skiable acres that are home to five lifts and 44 runs. The base elevation is 9,000 feet and reaches 10,440 feet at the summit, giving this resort a vertical drop of 1,440 feet. Like the slopes listed above, a majority of these runs are for intermediate and advanced riders, but there are a handful of beginner trails as well.
While the runs at this resort are more geared towards intermediate and advanced skiers, there is a ski school available for newcomers to the sport. There are also equipment rentals, retail shops, and an on-site cafe.
397 Camp May Rd, Los Alamos, NM 87544 (Map) | 505) 662-5725
Sipapu Ski Resort – Vadito: 123 miles | 2.5 hours
Since 1952, Sipapu Ski Resort has been delighting visitors with its top-of-the-line, family-friendly slopes and fun. This resort is not only the oldest ski resort in Northern New Mexico but also the Land of Enchantment’s quickest growing one. It is still run by the family of the founders, Lloyd and Olive Bolander.
The base elevation of Sipapu is 8,200 feet, and the summit elevation is 9,255 feet, giving it a vertical drop of 1,055 feet. There are 205 skiable acres with 43 runs mostly catering towards intermediate and advanced riders. While Sipapu averages around 120 inches of snow each year, they can make snow to cover up to 70% of the mountain. There are six lifts in total, including two triples, one quad, and three conveyors.
The owners have enjoyed keeping the resort a refuge from the hectic world, offering a place for families to spend quality time with one another. Sipapu does have overnight accommodations, but they lack certain amenities since it was built under the pretense that families would use their time on the mountain to connect instead of getting hung up on electronics.
5224 NM-518, Vadito, NM 87579 (Map) | (800) 587-2240
Taos – Taos Ski Valley: 132 miles | 2.5 hours
For skiers looking for an elite mountain to rush down, Taos might be the best choice. It was initially founded by a Swiss-German man named Ernie Blake over 60 years ago and has been one of the best ski resorts providing visitors with an entire mountain experience.
Taos’s base is 9,200 feet elevation and goes all the way up to 12,481 feet at the summit, which means that there’s a steep 3,281-foot vertical drop. Taos has an astounding 1,294 skiable acres with 14 total lifts and an average of over 300 sunny days per year. Averaging 300 inches of annual snowfall, snowbirds and tourists from all over the world come flocking to this property to get a taste of the ultimate dry powder on these slopes.
While there are slightly more runs at this resort for expert skiers, there are almost equal parts of easy, intermediate, and advanced routes. Additionally, there are ski and snowboard schools for people just getting introduced to the sport as well as children’s and women’s ski programs.
Taos offers mountainside accommodations at a beautiful property called The Blake. With Albuquerque being the nearest airport, it was necessary to provide lodging at these coveted skiing locations. Make sure to visit Taos Village during your trip as it has been regarded as a fun place to explore with deep Hispanic, Native American, and European influences.
116 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525 (Map) | 888.262.8398
Angel Fire Resort – Angel Fire: 155 miles | 3 hours
The Angel Fire Resort is roughly three hours outside of Albuquerque and one of the most famous ski resorts in the Southwest. What started out as a small ski area in 1966 has now evolved into a four seasons resort, while still maintaining that cozy and family feel to the environment.
Angel Fire’s 560 skiable acres are comprised of 81 trails, more than half of which are intermediate riders. The average snowfall in the area is 210 inches, but the resort has the capability to make snow for about 52% of the mountain. The base elevation is 8,600 feet and the summit elevation is 10,677, which means the vertical drop is 2,077 feet.
Angel Fire Resort is considered to have some of the best runs in the state as well as being the only resort in New Mexico that offers night skiing. This luxurious area isn’t just home to the best snow for skiing in the region, but it also includes a beautiful mountain lodge that is a perfect getaway for the whole family with southern views of the Rockie Mountains.
Slopeside Sports at Angel Fire Resort carries everything from rentals for adults and children, to any souvenirs that visitors might want. The Lit Cafe is another guest favorite offering coffee, baked goods, and other food items including their popular breakfast burrito.
10 Miller Ln, Angel Fire, NM 87710 (Map) | 800-633-7463
Red River Ski Area – Red River: 168 miles | 3 hours
Located on the famous Enchanted Circle, the Red River Ski Area is a family-owned resort that been around for over 60 years and offers some of New Mexico’s best-kept natural beauty.
Red River has 209 skiable acres with a base elevation of 8,750 feet and a top elevation of 10,350 feet. There are 64 runs in total that are made up of an even amount of easy, intermediate, and advanced trails. The resort also offers ski and snowboard lessons for adults and children, making it a family-friendly place to visit for all ages.
Red River is known for having a friendly environment, a great history, and has some of the best snowmaking capabilities in the industry. The resort provides mountainside lodging options as well as places to stay within 20 miles of the resort.
It truly is a winter sports town, as there are even chairlifts to the ski area within walking distance of the main street. Red River is ideal for anyone looking to hit the slopes with fewer crowds and the freshest, longest-lasting snow, along with only a few seven lifts.
400 Pioneer Rd, Red River, NM 87558 (Map) | (575) 754-2223
Those are the closest ski areas to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Have a blast skiing the Southern Rocky Mountains!